News | Ghana’s Attorney General in trouble for paying over $11.9 million judgement debts without authorisation

Ghana’s Attorney General in trouble for paying over $11.9 million judgement debts without authorisation

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The money was paid to a firm called Construction Pioneers.

The money was paid despite the fact that the government has warned the department not to pay debts exceeding $1.8 million (GH₵10 million) without Cabinet's prior authorisation.

The government in an attempt to sanitize the judgment debts payment system brought a policy that debts exceeding $1.8 million (GH₵ 10 million) cannot be paid without Cabinet’s authorization.

The payment was captured in the Auditor General’s 2016 report, which was discussed on Tuesday, March 12, 2019, at a Public Accounts Committee sitting.

In the report, the firm, Construction Pioneers was paid the monies which exceeded the $1.8 million thresholds without the requisite consent.

“A review of the bank statement of the Ministry disclosed that payment of $11.9 million (GH₵67,380,718.20), direct debit was made to Construction Pioneers as judgement debt on behalf of the state without any reference to the cabinet,” the report said.

Although the Attorney General, who is also the Minister of Justice, Gloria Akuffo, tended in a Cabinet’s decision note authorizing the said payments, members of the Public Accounts Committee were not impressed.

The Ministry, according to the report, could not provide documentation with regards to the court judgement and failed to investigate the cause of the direct debit for appropriate action which resulted in the anomaly.

Meanwhile, the Attorney General has come to debunk the accusation.

Madam Akuffo whiles explaining herself revealed that she tended in a Cabinet's decision note authorising the said payments.

She said, “This happened because of the availability of documents at the time of the Audit. The decision note of Cabinet was received at our office on about 4th August 2013. So, yes it has been received but perhaps it was not readily available. Perhaps it goes to record keeping because we have different registries and so it is very difficult to track.”

“We have tried to overcome that using the computers now to record the emails that come in so that it becomes easier for us to trace these documents. I do apologize because I think perhaps at the time, when the exercise was carried out, if this document was available then perhaps the queries wouldn’t have arisen,” Madam Gloria noted.

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By Kwame Ntow 13/03/2019 10:54:00